The New York Mets (17-12) wrap up a six-game home stand this weekend, hosting one of the two NL Wild Card teams from last season, the Colorado Rockies (17-15). The Mets lost their grip on first place in the NL East after getting swept by the Atlanta Braves, while the Rockies come off a series victory over the Cubs in Chicago.
On Tuesday, Noah Syndergaard struggled out of the gate, coughing up five hits including a two-RBI double to Freddie Freeman and RBI single to Nick Markakis in the first inning. The Braves would not score the rest of the game, but the Mets would fall short, 3-2, despite a Yoenis Cespedes home run and a ninth inning RBI from Wilmer Flores.
Wednesday night’s game felt like a fever dream, as the injury gods once again reared their ugly heads on the Mets. Jacob deGrom left the game after four shutout innings with a hyper-extended right elbow. Paul Sewald entered in relief and gave up an RBI knock to Freeman and a two-run homer to Ender Inciarte. Robert Gsellman didn’t fare much better, as he surrendered an RBI double to Markakis and back-to-back homers to Johan Camargo and Ryan Flaherty. The Met offense was lifeless all game, mustering just two hits off lefty Sean Newcomb and three total in a 7-0 loss.
The Mets seemingly caught a rare break Thursday morning when deGrom’s MRI came back clean With no ligament damage, deGrom will attempt to make his next start on Monday versus the Cincinnati Reds. deGrom’s health would be the only highlight of the day, as the Met offense sputtered once again, this time against Julio Tehran, who no-hit the Mets into the seventh-inning until a double by Asdrubal Cabrera broke up the no-no. Jason Vargas struggled in his second straight start, surrendering six earned runs on 11 hits in 4.2 innings. Matt Harvey couldn’t stop the bleeding and gave up five runs on five hits in two innings of work. Kurt Suzuki, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Nick Marakais all homered for Atlanta as they completed the sweep in Queens.
After being outscored in three games by the Braves 21-2 and dropping 11 of their last 17 games, the Mets’ offense and starting rotation beyond Syndergaard and deGrom has been bad to say the least. They won’t catch a break this weekend with a strong Colorado Rockies squad visiting Citi Field, who sit in second place in the NL West.
After losing the NL Wild Card Game to the Arizona Diamondbacks last October, the Rockies made some intriguing offseason moves to remain competitive, primarily with their bullpen. Letting All-Star closer Greg Holland go, Colorado replaced him with another All-Star by signing former Cubs and Royals closer Wade Davis to one of the bigger deals of the offseason: three-years, $52 million. Davis leads the NL in saves with 11 and gives the Rockies an experienced lights-out option in the pen. Also joining the mountain range is former Cleveland Indians set-up man Bryan Shaw, who got a three-year, $27 million deal. Shaw has struggled to adjust to the Coors Field atmosphere, as nine of his 11 earned runs have come at home. Adam Ottavino, a New York native from Berkeley Carroll High School in Brooklyn, has been stellar as the bridge to Davis. Ottavino has a minuscule 0.53 ERA and 0.47 WHIP with an astounding 32 strikeouts in 17 innings.
Nolan Arenado has quietly become one of the game’s premiere third basemen, and has gotten off to a stellar start: .325 AVG, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 1.031 OPS. Fellow All-Star Charlie Blackmon has also emerged as a top-tier player in center field and is tied for most home runs in the NL with 10, mostly coming in the lead-off spot. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu was placed on the disabled list on April 30 with a right hamstring strain, so he will miss the series in Queens. The Mets however will see outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who came off the DL with a hamstring injury of his own.
Friday, May 4: German Marquez vs. Zack Wheeler, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Marquez (2018): 28 IP, 27 K, 16 BB, 2 HR, 5.14 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 1.57 WHIP
Marquez has been a textbook example of the Coors Field effect this season. Marquez has pitched much better on the road than in Denver, allowing three earned runs in 17 innings in opposing ballparks compared to 13 runs in 11 innings pitched at home.
Wheeler (2018): 22 IP, 21 K, 8 BB, 2 HR, 4.09 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 1.32 WHIP
Wheeler struck out a season-high nine batters in San Diego on Sunday, allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. Wheeler has been the third-best starter in the rotation thus far, but that hasn’t been the ideal scenario the Mets had hoped for in this still young season.
Saturday, May 5: Chad Bettis vs. Steven Matz, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Bettis (2018): 37 IP, 25 K, 13 BB, 4 HR, 2.43 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 1.05 WHIP
Bettis has been the ace of the Rockies so far in 2018. Coming off seven-innings, five strikeouts and two runs allowed versus the Marlins last Sunday, the cancer survivor has yet to allow more than five hits in a start this season.
Matz (2018): 21.2 IP, 26 K, 10 BB, 5 HR, 4.98 ERA, 5.43 FIP, 1.29 WHIP
Matz, originally slated to pitch Tuesday against the Braves, had his start pushed back to Saturday due to back stiffness. Matz has been getting a lot of outs via strikeouts, but his walk rate and increasingly high pitch counts have been a problem that hasn’t allowed him to get past the sixth inning this season.
Sunday, April 26: Kyle Freeland vs. Noah Syndergaard, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
Freeland (2018): 34 IP, 30 K, 12 BB, 5 HR, 4.24 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 1.26 WHIP
After struggling out of the gate, Freeland has been in a groove. The young Rockies southpaw has gone seven innings in consecutive starts against the Padres and Cubs while dealing with left heel soreness in between appearances.
Syndergaard (2018): 40.2 IP, 49 K, 6 BB, 3 HR, 3.10 ERA, 2.31 FIP, 1.13 WHIP
Syndergaard got roughed up in the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Braves, but stayed in and gave the Mets much needed length despite allowing ten hits and striking out an abnormally low three batters. Thor looks to rebound against a Rockies lineup that is 28th overall in team batting average and fourth overall in team strikeouts.
Prediction: Mets win one out of three.
How will the Mets fare against the Rockies?
This poll is closed
Mets bounce back in a big way, sweep the Rox
Take two out of three
Win one, lose two
Continue to fall off the cliff, swept by the Rockies